Cote d’Azur: what you need to know before a trip
The Côte d’Azur is called one of the most expensive resorts in the world. But if you plan your trip wisely, you can rest on the coast for the price of a trip to Turkey.
The article will tell you how to organize a budget trip to the Cote d’Azur: to see more and spend less.
What you will learn.
Where is the : South of France, Provence.
The sea : the Mediterranean.
How long is the flight : from Moscow to Nice about four hours.
Difference with Moscow : -1 hour in summer, -2 hours in winter.
Average temperature : +30 ° C in summer, +18 ° C in spring and fall.
Language : French, English in tourist areas.
The season begins in May, but the water only warms up to +21 °C by mid-June. In summer, the coast is hot: even in the shade, the temperature can reach +30 ° C. It is best to walk around the cities in the morning or evening, when the sun is hidden behind the houses close to each other.
September is the velvet season with fewer tourists and the weather allows for swimming and sunbathing. The average daytime air temperature is +24 °C and the water +20 °C. The season ends in October.
The average temperature on the coast is +14 °C in winter and +18 °C in spring.
✈️ How to get there
During high season a round trip direct flight costs about 28 000 R . From Moscow it is cheaper to Nice with a connection. You can also connect from Munich, Helsinki or Zurich for R15,000.
️ Côte d’Azur resorts
You can travel along the coast for months on end. I’ll tell you about a few cities that I remember the most.
It’s impossible to see Nice in a day. In the city you want to stay for a week, even if there are no clear plans: just walk the streets, Promenade des Anglais and admire the sea.
The old town of Nice is like Italy with its yellow walls and orange roofs. It’s crowded and atmospheric: if you remove all the trendy cafes, the area looks like a medieval neighborhood.
The view of the Promenade des Anglais and the airport from Castle Hill. The beaches in Nice are pebbly – you don’t have to clean up the sand
From a wide modern avenue in Nice you can turn to a small narrow street as if from another city
The composition with the figures on the lampposts is called “Dialogue in Nice” and symbolizes the seven continents. It seemed to me that they didn’t fit in with the style of the old square. It’s better to go there in the evening, it looks better in the dark.
Eight kilometers from the center of Nice at an altitude of 370 meters is an observatory. It can be visited only on a tour in English. They are held on Wednesday and Saturday from 14:30. The tour guides talk enthusiastically about the stars, the sky and their own research. I’m not into astronomy, but even I found it interesting.
If you don’t speak English, I still recommend a trip to the observatory. From the observation deck you have a view of the famous curved coastline of Nice, which resembles a sickle.
Another viewpoint in Nice is on Castle Hill. From there you have a good view of the promenade and the city as a whole. To get to the platform, you have to walk along the Promenade des Anglais in the direction of the port. On a hot day, the climb can seem endless, so it is better to use the free elevator.
The stairs to Castle Hill are not high, but in hot weather it is hard to climb. In the lower left corner of the photo you can see the door that leads to the free elevator
Cannes. By day it’s a normal tourist town, with tourists in shorts or bathing suits strolling lazily around. But in the evening, the town changes. On Boulevard de la Croisette, you can catch the scent of expensive selective perfumes, and there are yacht parties on the waterfront.
You can look down on the city from the vantage point next to the 17th-century Church of Our Lady of Good Hope. I went up on foot and didn’t regret it: I saw deserted streets and atmospheric alleyways.
All in all, I thought a day was enough for Cannes. Then it’s better to find a hotel in a more accessible and less noisy city.
If I wasn’t looking for the Palais des Festivals et Congrès in Cannes specifically, I would have walked past this building without even paying attention to it
Antibes is a cozy little town between Nice and Cannes. If you walk around the old center in the evening, it may seem that there are no people in the city. But in fact everyone, from young people to companies of stylish grandparents, sit in bars and restaurants.
In the fifties, they put blue wooden chairs on the promenade in Nice, which became a symbol of the city. Now they can also be seen in Cannes.
Saint-Tropez has pine trees, different beaches, and a promenade with yellow buildings. Looking at the photos, I feel like I’ve been to at least three different places.
Mostly people come to Saint-Tropez to stay up late and wake up late. It’s a city of fun, parties and rowdy bars that became popular after the release of And God Created Woman with Brigitte Bardot.
In Saint-Tropez, you can see and photograph the 18th-century church of Eglise Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. Its yellow and pink bell tower is featured on most postcards in Saint-Tropez souvenir shops. The church stands out for its size against the small and low houses, but I thought it looked better in the photos than in reality.
In October, the city hosts the famous all-European Porsche Car Parade. There you can see rare models of cars, which are driven by stylish European grandmothers and grandfathers. The dates of the festival are listed on the official website.
Port Grimaud was built in the sixties. The land on the marshes was of no interest to developers, but one ambitious French architect found a way out and designed a city on the water. Twenty small islands, fourteen bridges and private boats near each house – that is all Grimaud. To move here is possible only on foot or by boat on the canals, so the city is called the Venice of France.
Toulon is located 150 kilometers from Nice, almost at the end of the western part of the Cote d’Azur. The Navy is based there, so sometimes you can see not only yachts, but also stern warships. It’s a big city by the standards of France.
Toulon seemed unpredictable to me. The old center has many little streets and alleys, and every time I didn’t know what would be around the corner. Sometimes a small and unremarkable street led to a beautiful square with a fountain and restaurants.
In the city center the beaches are small and crowded. For sea and sand you should go to Murion, an area to the east of the city. The beaches there are beautiful and there are many fish restaurants.
Also in Toulon, I was impressed with the Royal Tower, a round fort built in the 16th century. Once you get up there, it feels like you’re at a game of “Fort Boyard” and Passepartout is walking around somewhere nearby. From the walls of the tower you have a view of the sea and the bay.
Every town and village has many different beaches: rocky, pebbly, sandy, paid and free. Everywhere is clear, azure water and incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The beach of Carras is 5 km long and is located near the center of Nice. In the free part of the beach you can sunbathe on your own towel. There is also a volleyball court. There are a lot of people, but I still felt comfortable relaxing there.
The whole shore is pebbly – it is better to swim in special swimming slippers. The sea is deep at once, the water is clean and refreshing.
The beach along Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes is almost all paid. But at the beginning and end of the promenade there are places for those who just want to lie on their towel.
The beach is sandy and the water is cool. I liked this beach better in the evening at sunset, when the sun falls below the horizon and lights up the coast with orange light.
The beach of Juan-les-Pins is cozy and quiet, although it’s a 20-minute drive from Cannes. The proximity of one of the most expensive cities in the world is only reminded by the yachts on the horizon.
The town is small and there is nothing special, except for a sandy and clean beach. On weekdays, it is comfortable and not crowded, but in the evening on the beach is noisy: the youth hold parties on the coast.
The beach at Pampelonne, south of St. Tropez, has soft fine sand and warm transparent sea. But the seclusion is hard to come by as Pampelonne is where the young people go to party and meet up. Some places are taken up by nudists, and the cafes and restaurants there are expensive. I don’t like bars and noisy places, so the beach was of interest to me only during the day.
Billionaires Bay beach is small and picturesque, surrounded by rocks and trees. The water is clear and refreshing, and the shore and bottom are rocky. It is better to come to the beach in the morning to have time to enjoy the tranquility.
On the island of St. Margaret’s held a man in an iron mask. You can go to the local beaches all day: walk through the cedar alleys and visit the beaches in different parts of the island. The coastline is rocky, in some places the water has washed out in the rocks beautiful caves. You can also see yachts from the island: there are more in the sea than gulls in the sky.
The currency of France is the euro. In restaurants and stores, you can pay by card. If you want to leave a tip, tell the waiter the amount and he will write it on the bill. To buy coffee at a beach cafe or a souvenir, it’s better to have cash with you.
I always walk in the cities, but you can also get around on the city bus. Usually a ticket costs 1.5-2 € (110-146 P ).
Car rental. On the Côte d’Azur, there are standard rentals like Hertz and Badgett. I usually check cars at Kayak, AutoEuropa or Rentalkars.
I usually look for hotels or apartments on Bookings, Agoda, and AirBeyond. On the Côte d’Azur, the most options are on ABC. Prices are lower if you book in advance. There may not be good options a few days before check-in.
What to bring from the Côte d’Azur
If something happens.
Russian Embassy in France Address: boulevard Lannes 40-50, Paris – 75116. Phone: +33 145 04-05-50.
Russian Consulate in Marseille Address: Avenue Ambroise Paré 3, Marseille – 13008. Phone: +33 491 76-26-79.
Consulate phone numbers for emergencies: +33 0 610 79-20-16 – Marseille; +33 0 140 07-01-65 – Russian help line; 15 – Single Ambulance Service.
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